St. Nazaire ‘s WW2: a holiday day out

St Nazaire excursion

Visiting the submarine pens in St Nazaire would seem a rather sombre experience for your Brittany gite holiday but it makes for a great day out. This somebody’s recent video clip which catches the spirit of a day out here (with a very spontaneous sound track !)

The U boat pens

First the Submarine/U-boat pens: a crumbling row of garages on steroids. Massive concrete roof and submerged floors on the western edge of the dry dock that was built for ocean liners in the early 20th century.

Just south are modern day surroundings including a huge cold store for the fishing trade, a range of restaurants serving up their Menus du jour to the likes of you and me and fishermen.

Go aboard a U boat.

Then on the eastern bank of the dry dock are two museums. One of these contains a post-war French submarine produced from the U-boat design, and around which there is an excellent recorded tour. Next door an excellent museum about St Nazaire, its maritime history, its growth and the German occupation.

Going Home

To the south and west lies the elegant housing and riverfront of St Nazaire which escaped the American bombing late in the war. This riverfront leads to St Martin which is famous for Mr Houlot’s Holiday (Jacques Tati) who is commemorated by a bronze statue. A playground for St Nazaire ‘s inhabitants with bars, hotels and restaurants. Take signs for St Andre des Eaux then Herbignac etc.

Getting there

About a hour from La Ruelmain, 30 miles, via Missillac and Pontchateau.

We recommend this visit as part of your Brittany Holidays – allow a whole day. You might regret it if you dont.

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